University of Illinois starts virtual campus tours

Campus is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but students can still tour campus through virtual reality and YouTube and photo tours.
people wearing VR headsets
(Lucrezia Carnelos / Unsplash)

With campus closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign has given prospective students a new way to tour its campus online, the university announced last week.

“We’re disappointed that we’re unable to host you and your family at this time,” UI’s admissions department wrote on its website. “We understand that visiting campus is an ideal way to get a better feel for who we are and what we can offer you.”

But with its new virtual tour, UI can now let potential applicants explore campus landmarks, listen to stories from current students and attend information sessions with university advisers.

In UI’s new YouTube series, called Touring Time, campus visitors are guided around the university’s campus, shown prominent locations and given fun facts about various spots on campus, like how students can make University of Illinois-branded waffles in the dinning hall, and that Foellinger Auditorium has a statue of a pineapple on its roof.


UI’s virtual reality experience — created entirely by current students — along with a photo tour of high quality images, allows prospective students to explore campus in more detail. Daily live information sessions will also be hosted by UI’s admissions department to answer questions about applying to college.

Campus tours aren’t the only in-person activities being canceled at universities. In addition to higher education institutions canceling their in-person classes, many have also opted to move graduation ceremonies online, including Purdue University, the University of Nevada, Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, Delaware State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas Austin.

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